2002-11-16 / Editorial/Opinion

Not The Way To Raise Revenue

Not The Way To Raise Revenue

The police are ordered to give tickets to those surfing in Rockaway waters. People who leave their blankets to take a dip in the water are ticketed. People fishing off the rocks are ticketed. Storeowners are ticketed if their awning extends too far into the street. Businessmen and women are ticketed if there is garbage in front of their businesses, even if it clearly does not come from their business and it is prior to the day’s opening. Residents and building owners alike are ticketed if their regular garbage includes recyclables. Parking meter hours are extended to Sundays. Tickets are given if the inspection sticker on a car’s window is above the registration rather than next to it. We understand that those who break a city regulation, be it parking or commercial regulations, should face some sanctions. It seems, however that Mayor Bloomberg has hit on the idea that he can somehow make up the massive budget deficit by handing out more tickets and collecting more fines. Rather than generating revenues, a flurry of fines will have the opposite effect. It will drive the middle class and the business owners out of the city and into the user-friendly suburbs. Using fines to generate revenues simply sends the message to city agencies that they must give even more tickets and generate even more revenue. That leads to the hated "productivity goals" that have driven the use of NYPD’s "Summons Scooter" assignments – a cop in each of the city’s police precincts who does nothing all day but give tickets. The cops who get the assignment love it because they do not have to fight crime all day. Their bosses love it because it generates numbers that they can throw out at Compstat. The city loves it because it generates much-needed revenue. The people, who hate it, have no say. Now, the summons scooter and its counterpart, "red light auto" are being extended to other areas – the garbage police and the awning police. Where will it stop? When there is nobody left in the city to pay the tickets. Until then, we will be deluged by more and more tickets – more and more fines. Give us another small tax, but stop the regressive use of tickets to generate revenue. We can’t take much more.

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